Following delays and rising costs during the pandemic, the NDP Critic for the Environment and Climate Change Laurel Collins (Victoria) and Finance Critic Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby) are asking the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) to provide an update about the costs of the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project.
“As the economy begins to re-open, many Canadians are struggling financially, they need all the help they can get, and deserve honesty from their government,” said Julian. “Taxpayers' dollars should be spent on infrastructure projects that have meaningful and lasting economic and environmental benefits for generations to come.”
The PBO’s previous cost analysis published in November 2019 found that the Trans Mountain expansion project would be uneconomical if it wasn’t completed by December 2021. That was on top of the $4.5 billion spent to buy the pipeline, before expansion costs soared to at least $12.6 billion, before additional construction delays, and before the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, said the NDP.
“The Liberal government’s decision to buy this 65-year-old pipeline for billions of taxpayer’s dollars was irresponsible,” said Collins. “It would be even more irresponsible for the government to invest billions of dollars more of taxpayers’ money into a project that would be an economic and environmental disaster.”
The project’s employment workforce is approaching 5,000 in B.C. and Alberta, Trans Mountain Corp. says. At peak construction in 2021, the company expects, more than 5,500 workers to be employed on the project. The company is on track to spend $3 billion this year on the project, so spending in 2021 can expected to be even higher than that.
- With files from Nelson Bennett, Business in Vancouver